The title is a little known song by Al Stewart, but the title serves as a simple introduction to a significant 10th birthday. Almost exactly ten years ago, I raced in my first British Masters Indoor Championships. It was in Cardiff, and I won a 60 metres bronze medal. Those days just precede my earliest blogs, which began a year later.
I’d been racing in a few local indoor sprint events around London prior to that event, but to the close-knit Masters athletics family I was a complete unknown. It was, it seems, unusual for a 51 year old athlete to appear out of the woodwork and win a medal. Sound of a few noses being put out of joint! I’d also entered for the World Masters Indoor Championships, in Linz, Austria a few weeks later. There, I made it into two semi-finals and into the 4x200m relay squad that won a silver medal. I didn’t think that was a bad record for a new boy.
What seems strange is that it is “only” ten years ago. It really does seem like so much longer. Since that good start, my life has been inextricably linked with Masters athletics. I’ve had the joys of great friendships, European and World gold medals – usually in the company of some of my firmest friends. I’ve had the agony of clinical depression, for which the pressures and expectations from training and racing bear a fair slice of blame. I’ve had the fun and immense hard work of being photographer at local, national, european and world track and field events. And above all, I’ve met, raced and worked with some of the best people around.
And I am still doing so, in case you felt this blog was beginning to sound like a resignation speech!
My 2016 indoor track season is three weeks old this year, as I write. That’s three consecutive weekends of final preparation and racing. I now have a weekend off coming up, then the British Masters Championships. One more weekend off, and then I’m away to Ancona in Italy, for the European Masters Championships. I’m looking forward to that in particular. Ancona hosted the European Masters Indoors in 2009, and I have fond memories of that event.
Reflecting on the last three weeks, and the seven races I’ve run over that time, my “score” is five wins, one second, and one third. OK, one of the wins was in a relay, but it was still a good run. I’ve absolutely no reason at this stage to have the slightest regrets about the tough winter of training I put myself through, either. My three favourite wins recently have been in 60 metres sprints. I’m running fast, feeling strong and stable. I want to be faster still for the British Masters and faster than that for the Europeans. I need a few days off to recover from the three races I took part in yesterday, which left me feeling very sore. Massage today has helped, I think, as will a chiropractor visit scheduled for later this week.
So, regard this as an interim blog, reporting on “work in progress”. More to come.